5 Clean Comedians That Sell Out Places Other Than Utah Faster Than You Can Say Brian Regan
“I like being a clean comedian,” Brian Regan told the Burlington County Times. “You don’t have to ever change your material for an audience.” Not that audiences would want him to. Regan has been on the road for nearly 40 years, selling out small clubs and massive auditoriums, all on the strength of curse-less comedy. Despite comedians’ reputation for being foul-mouthed fools, comics like Regan, Jim Gaffigan and Jerry Seinfeld prove that clean comedy is big business.
Here are five more super-popular comics that give a good gosh darn about delivering a profanity-free performance…
Bargatze proves you don’t have to curse to play dumb — or as he told The Daily Beast, “the right amount of dumb.” His languid drawl sells jokes and reinforces his “clueless Christian dad self-deprecation” brand. Is he really as nice as he seems? We’ll assume yes until proven otherwise.
Clean comedy can still have attitude. Johnson-Reyes, who rode viral fame to a spot on MADtv, brought the sass with breakout characters like Bon Qui Qui. Working the road as a stand-up, she doesn’t market herself as a “clean comic” but you’re safe having the kids tag along. “Bring the whole family,” she says. “Bring your grandma. Bring whoever.” Even when she’s talking about people doing the nasty, she spells out the S-E-X.
Forget “selling out places” — Birbiglia’s brand of comic confessional storytelling plays on freaking Broadway. (Can we say “freaking” in an article about clean comics?) He’s more This American Life than Def Comedy Jam, but that doesn’t make the highfalutin Birgilia above doing some solid food-court comedy on late-night talk shows.
Like Steven Wright, Martin is a master of the G-rated stream-of-consciousness ramble, although Martin often adds some guitar strumming for a higher degree of difficulty. Maybe not growing up listening to Eddie Murphy or George Carlin influenced his clean comedy? “I don’t know how much I was a comedy nerd. I think I was just a standard nerd,” he told NPR. “For me, my interests were more like brainteasers, which, you know, I don’t know if it's the coolest thing to admit, but I liked, you know, those puzzle books and that kind of stuff and just taking a pen and trying to figure out some weird MENSA things.”
Not a lot of cursing in those brainteaser books.
If you’re looking for “your modern, up-to-the-minute, hipster humor” (as Rob Brydon described it on the Off Menu podcast), Acaster is your guy despite his on-again/off-again relationship with performing comedy. The comedy has stayed clean while it’s gotten darker over the years. “One of the reasons that I decided to be a bit more open about myself and my mental health in my stand-up was that I’ve really benefitted from people turning those experiences into art,” Acaster told the New Yorker. “It’s made me feel less alone. You really see the benefit of it when you’re in the audience, and you want to do the same.”